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5 small diesel cars that save on fuel

2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI
2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI | Volkswagen

2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI

  • Price: $25,260
  • Mileage: 30 city, 42 highway and 34 combined mpg

As the only small diesel-powered station wagon on the market, the VW Jetta SportWagen has no peers. Its fun-to-drive dynamics, impressive fuel economy and voluminous 67 cubic feet of maximum cargo space collude to make one very unique vehicle.

A 140-horsepower, 2-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine generates the go. The same 2-liter engine powers this list's Audi A3 and Golf TDI as well. A six-speed manual transmission hustles engine output to the front wheels. For an additional $1,100, a six-speed, driver-shiftable automatic tranny can be substituted for the manual and will scrub 1 mpg from the combined fuel number.

Furnished for five, the SportWagen's cabin is roomy and comfortable. The seats are clothed in a vinyl, faux-leather upholstery. With the 60/40 split rear seat upright, there is nearly 33 cubic feet of cargo room in this diesel car.

On the standard equipment list are full power accessories, heated outboard mirrors, air conditioning, cruise control, leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with redundant audio controls, Bluetooth connectivity, six air bags, trip computer, and a 10-speaker audio system with in-dash six-disc CD player, satellite radio, touch-screen control, iPod integration and an auxiliary input jack.

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